Skip Nav

Are There Term Limits in the United States Congress?

You might also Like

❶Those appointments can be you scratch my back I'll scratch yours just like the Congress!

Search form

Recommended
Site Content
Navigation menu

In district nominating conventions local leaders could negotiate and enforce agreements to pass the nominations around among themselves. Abraham Lincoln was elected to the United States House of Representatives in under such a bargain, and he returned home to Springfield after a single congressional term because, he wrote, "to enter myself as a competitor of another, or to authorize anyone so to enter me, is what my word and honor forbid".

During the Civil War , the Confederate States Constitution limited its president to a single six-year term. The practice of nomination rotation for the House of Representatives began to decline after the Civil War. It took a generation or so before the direct primary system, civil service reforms, and the ethic of professionalism worked to eliminate rotation in office as a common political practice.

By the turn of the 20th century the era of incumbency was coming into full swing. A total of 8 presidents served two full terms and declined a third and three presidents served one full term and refused a second. After World War II , however, an officeholder class had developed to the point that congressional tenure rivaled that of the U. Supreme Court , where tenure is for life. The concept of homesteading brought about a popular movement known as the "term-limits movement".

The elections of —94 saw the adoption of term limits for state legislatures in almost every state where citizens had the power of the initiative. In addition, 23 states limited service in their delegation to Congress. As they pertain to Congress, these laws are no longer enforceable, however, as in , the U. Supreme Court overturned congressional term limits in U.

Thornton , ruling that state governments cannot limit the terms of members of the national government. Where rotation in the legislative branch has withstood court challenges, term limits continue to garner popular support. As of , the advocacy group " U. Term Limits " found that in the 17 states where state legislators served in rotation, public support for term limits ranged from 60 to 78 percent.

As of , term limits at the federal level are restricted to the executive branch and some agencies. Judicial appointments at the federal level are made for life, and are not subject to election or to term limits. Congress remains since the Thornton decision of without electoral limits. The short-lived Confederate States of America adopted a six-year term for their president and vice-president and barred the president from seeking re-election.

That innovation was endorsed by many American politicians after the American Civil War , most notably by Rutherford B. Hayes in his inaugural address. Roosevelt president, — was the first and only U. He died in office a few months after starting his fourth term.

This gave rise to a successful move in Congress to formalize the traditional two-term limit by amending the U. As ratified in , the Twenty-Second Amendment provides that "no person shall be elected to the office of President more than twice".

Reformers during the early s used the initiative and referendum to put congressional term limits on the ballot in 24 states. Voters in eight of these states approved the congressional term limits by an average electoral margin of two to one.

In May , the U. Supreme Court ruled 5—4 in U. Thornton , U. In the elections, part of the Republican platform included legislation for term limits in Congress. After winning the majority, a Republican congressman brought a constitutional amendment to the House floor that proposed limiting members of the Senate to two six-year terms and members of the House to six two-year terms.

Term Limits , the largest private organization pushing for congressional term limits. Defeated in Congress and overridden by the Supreme Court, the federal term limit uprising was brought to a halt. The term limits intended simultaneously to reform state legislatures as distinguished from the federal congressional delegations remain in force, however, in fifteen states.

In Larry J. Sabato revived the debate over term limits by arguing in A More Perfect Constitution that the success and popularity of term limits at the state level suggests that they should be adopted at the federal level as well. He specifically put forth the idea of congressional term limits and suggested a national constitutional convention be used to accomplish the amendment, since the Congress would be unlikely to propose and adopt any amendment that limits its own power.

Some state legislators have also expressed their opinions on term limits. It is confirmed that in the following five states—and there may be others—state lawmakers approved resolutions asking Congress to propose a federal constitutional amendment to limit the number of terms which members of Congress may serve:.

Legal scholars have discussed whether or not to impose term limits on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Currently, Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life "during good behavior". A sentiment has developed, among certain scholars, that the Supreme Court may not be accountable in a way that is most in line with the spirit of checks and balances. Calebresi and James Lindgren, professors of law at Northwestern University, argued that, because vacancies in the court are occurring with less frequency and justices served on average, between and , for Many of the proposals center around a term limit for Justices that would be 18 years Larry Sabato, Professor of Political Science at University of Virginia, suggested between 15 and 18 years.

Calebresi, Lingren, and Carrington have also proposed that when justices have served out their proposed year term they should be able to sit on other Federal Courts until retirement, death, or removal. Some state lawmakers have officially expressed to Congress a desire for a federal constitutional amendment to limit terms of Supreme Court justices as well as of judges of federal courts below the Supreme Court level. While there might be others, below are three known examples:.

Term limits for state officials have existed since colonial times. The Pennsylvania Charter of Liberties of , and the colonial frame of government of the same year, both authored by William Penn , provided for triennial rotation of the provincial council —the upper house of the colonial legislature. At present, 36 states have term limits of various types for their governors. To circumvent the term limit in Alabama incumbent governor George Wallace pushed through the nomination of his wife Lurleen , in the Democratic primary, which was, in those days, the real contest in Alabama.

It was generally understood that Mrs. Wallace would only be a titular governor while her husband continued to hold the real power. She won the election, but only served 16 months before dying in As indicated above, in fifteen state legislatures the members serve in rotation, i. In another six states, however, state legislatures have either overturned their own limits or state supreme courts have ruled such limits unconstitutional. In the Idaho Legislature became the first legislature of its kind to repeal its own term limits, enacted by a public vote in , ostensibly because it applied to local officials along with the legislature.

Governors of 36 states and four territories are subject to various term limits, while the governors of 14 states, Puerto Rico , and the Mayor of Washington, D. Each state's gubernatorial term limits are prescribed by its state constitution , with the exception of Wyoming , whose limits are found in its statutes. Virgin Islands , and by statute in American Samoa. Unique in its restriction, Virginia prohibits its governors from succeeding themselves for a second term, although former governors are reeligible after four years out of office.

The governors of the following states and territories are limited to two consecutive terms, but are reeligible after four years out of office: Conversely, the Governors of Montana [68] and Wyoming [69] are restricted to two terms, limited to serving 8 out of any 16 years. Finally, the governors of the following states and territory are absolutely limited for life to two terms: The governors of New Hampshire and Vermont may serve unlimited two-year terms.

The governors or equivalent in the following states, district, and territory may serve unlimited four-year terms: The Governor of Utah was previously limited to serving three terms, but all term limit laws have since been repealed by the legislature. Some local governments have term limits. In Philadelphia , the mayor cannot be elected three consecutive times, but there is no limit on how long any individual can serve as mayor.

Frank Rizzo was elected mayor in and ; he attempted to repeal the term limit, but failed and could not run in He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for mayor in but he lost to Wilson Goode. In , he switched to the Republican Party, and ran as a Republican in the mayoral elections of and Limits vary from city to city even within the same state. For example, Houston , Texas , has a limit of 2 four-year terms prior to November 3, , 3 two-year terms dating back to , while San Antonio , Texas, has a limit of 4 two-year terms.

Both Houston and San Antonio's term limits are absolute; elected officeholders are ineligible to run for the same position where seeking higher office is common. On November 3, , however, when Michael Bloomberg was in his second term of mayor , the City Council approved the extension of the two-term limit to a three-term limit; one year later, he was elected to a third term.

The two-term limit was reinstated after a referendum in In Los Angeles the mayor serves up to two four-year terms since , while the City Council serve up to three four-year terms. In Cincinnati , Ohio , the term limit for mayor is two successive four-year terms.

Council members are limited to two successive four-year terms. There is no limit to total terms that may be served, just a limit on successive terms. In New Orleans , City Council members are limited to two four-year terms.

However, a council member representing one of the five council districts may run for one of the two at-large seats on the council once they reach the two-term limit, and vice versa. There is no limit on the number of terms a council member may serve in a lifetime. Since , the mayor of New Orleans has been limited to two consecutive four-year elected terms, but he or she may be elected again after sitting out one four-year term.

When the new city plan of government was adopted, the mayor at the time, DeLesseps Story Morrison , was exempt from term limits due to a grandfather clause. Under the original Metropolitan Charter adopted in , the mayor of Nashville was limited to three consecutive four-year terms, which was subsequently reduced to two consecutive four-year terms in Councilors were likewise limited to two consecutive four-year terms, but subsequent court rulings have determined the offices of district councilor and at-large councilor to be separate offices even though all councilors serve together in one unicameral body, which has meant that at large councilors have continued in office as district members, and more frequently district councilors have been elected to subsequent terms as at large councilors.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. They represent "we the people" and as Americans, we should not accept anything less. By walking the walk and talking the talk, we can inspire the world. Do you really think those guys and girls are going to vote themselves out of a job? What we should do is have a law passed that would make it a federal offense for a lobbyist to do any kind of business involving the government or to even show up on the hill, with an absolutely certain jail term involved.

Then, have another law passed that would put a limit on any contributions made by large corporations or rich people or banks to representatives that were running for office and that would include the president and anyone that is running for that office. I think that would curb a lot of this crap that goes on in Washington.

The cancer that is killing American Democracy is the money spent on campaigns. How can a person raise 10's of millions and not favor that source's interests? I am sure that this is why Asian factories were allowed to run my industry printed circuit boards completely out of America.

England is much smaller than USA, but they do have ceilings on their campaign spending. I am confident that the advertising agencies who earns millions off of campaigns are contributing back to those congressmen to not limit the money that can be spent on them! Do you people really continue to hold on to the myth that the Politicians are elected by you, the voter? The government is run by the big banks, big corporations and that is all there is to it.

They are the ones who pick and choose who will be the "Peoples representatives". It is a fact, live with it. Where do I go to sign up. I'm asian, so curious about your nation's political thing. I hope that i can reply asap. What do we really have to lose? If all of you are fed up as much as I am let's start a movement that can be heard all the way to Washington!

Congressmen are now looking more towards their next job opportunity and less at what they're doing right now. Usually their best offers are coming from the companies that the lobbyists represent. As much as we like to pretend that government is so simple, anybody can do it with a little common sense, the truth is that it's a series of enormously complex areas that you need a lot of knowledge to truly understand. If you are continuously throwing new people in there who don't have the knowledge base, they're going to listen to people who appear to - the lobbyists.

That's how I looked up this site. Where is the online petition? And there needs to be a petition for term limits for the supreme court as well. Those appointments can be you scratch my back I'll scratch yours just like the Congress! Nothing should be for life in Washington! Rip Post 6 Term limits would be one of the greatest turning points of this country.

We do not need these strongly biased individuals making our very important decisions for a life time. If not then we should limit only persons to be of age 65 and over after passing an IQ test and medical tests regarding mental illness related to age, to qualify for appointment.

They should be of sound physical health. This would limit them to a more reasonable term. Life is getting short after I know from experience. It would stop special interest groups from helping to get things like Cap and Tax and this so called health reform bill through.

What would be the pros and cons? Term Limits has just launched an on-line petition for Congressional term limits. The goal is to compile a list of Americans who support this reform that is so enormous it cannot be ignored. One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK! View slideshow of images above. Watch the Did-You-Know slideshow.

Jan Maxwell Revised By: Lucy Oppenheimer Images By: This Day in History. The Star Spangled Banner poem was written. Initial Terms All U. Debating the Issue The idea of term limits, in Congress and in politics generally, is one that has been debated in most countries for centuries.

Court Rulings In May of , the U. Looking Forward Whether there will ever be term limits in Congress is largely a matter for the public to decide. You might also Like. What Are the Duties of Congress? What is a Majority Whip? What is a Standing Committee? What is Involved in Making Public Policy?

Discuss this Article anon Post 24 Why not start a petition?

Committee Report

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

The term limits for Congress grassroots revolt is spreading like wildfire. Help us bypass Congress and impose term limits on the House and Senate by signing the national term limits .

Privacy FAQs

However, Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority, or votes, and the votes to restrict term limits fell short of that number. Court Rulings. In May of , the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against term limits in .

About Our Ads

Sign the term limits on Congress petition: Therefore Be It Resolved, that I do hereby support a Term Limits Convention to enact a constitutional amendment for term limits on members of the U.S. Senate and on members of The House of Representatives. Others object to term limits on the grounds that the founders already built term limits into the Constitution: every two years for a member of the House and every six years in the Senate via elections.

Cookie Info

Watch video · During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump made term limits for Congress an integral part of his plan for how to make Washington less, well, swampy. We didn't hear much from him about the idea. The New Jersey House also passed a term limits measure in , but the state Senate, relying on an advisory opinion from its in-house counsel that term limits are unconstitutional, refused to vote on the bill.